Photography springing into life

Spring brought a flurry of activity for me including a six-week solo exhibition and a presentation at the Royal Geographical Society about my helter-skelter ride from being a BBC news cameraman and director to an unpaid street photographer who takes photos from a light weight mobility scooter.

Miles on stage Rewired2017
from BBC cameraman to Scooter Shooter

The talk was part of Rewired 2017 for Movement for Hope who create art-science events supporting research and people with neurological conditions (click here for a “The Lancet” review of Rewired).

It’s not the only public speaking that I’ve been asked to do this spring. While my solo exhibition was at Worcester Arts Workshop I was asked to give a talk for the Worcester Visual Arts Meetup. It was nice doing that surrounded by my photography on the walls. There’s something very special about seeing your photos printed, framed and up on a gallery wall – so much more satisfying than pixel peeping on a monitor!

Miles talking at WAW for Worcester Visual Arts Neetup
speaking at Worcester Visual Arts Meetup

The six weeks of the exhibition were truly memorable for me – From the sheer number of people from all walks of my life who came to the opening night and the fantastic response the pictures seemed to have, to the friendliness of the Worcester Arts Workshop / Café Bliss staff, to the support of my great friends who hung the pictures for me because my MND wracked body made it impossible for me to do so. Thanks so much everyone – you know who you are!!!

A few people who couldn’t get to the exhibition have asked me to show the photos online so here they are in the order they were up on the wall:

(Click on the first thumbnail to enter a light box gallery – all pictures © Miles Pilling).

All but the first of the 17 photographs were taken in Worcester (which is a fairly small Cathedral city) so I was apprehensive about the reaction if local people recognised themselves in the candid images. In the event, several people were recognised and in every case there was a very positive response! It was really very heart warming as in the process I found out who some of the previously anonymous people in my photos were.

The reactions made me think that maybe the vast majority of people are quite OK about being photographed candidly as long as the pictures “are respectful of their subjects” as one visitor remarked mine are.

So now I know the background to some of the people in these photos, I might be telling their stories in future posts. Why not click “follow” so you don’t miss them.

See you again soon 🙂

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driven to abstraction

In 2014 (while I could still just about get around with crutches) I captured this image of a lady in Venice who looked like she’d joined in a conversation with two figures in a street mural:

Street conversation

I really liked how she seemed to have become part of the painting giving her an abstract anonymity.

Here are a couple more photos from the trip with the same kind of feeling:

Glass street sculpture

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I’ve been exploring this theme closer to home more recently. While driving around on my mobility scooter I’ll look out for scenes where humans merge with the urban landscape almost becoming abstract objects themselves.

These were taken on a cold morning this December….

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…and early morning sunlight shining through condensation at a bus stop created these lovely patterns and shapes making this figure very anonymous.

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Being forced to use a mobility scooter to get around because of my disability can make me feel anonymous but having a camera with me drives me on giving each trip much more of a sense of purpose.

It’s a pleasure to share what I see from my wheels with you!

© Miles Pilling

Child’s play

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© Miles Pilling

Bag for life

bag for life

© Miles Pilling

It’s just become law in England that you have to pay for disposable plastic bags from shops, so now it’s common to see people encumbered with many “bags for life” – quite often more than we actually need!

This blog is a record of some of the photographs I have taken since being diagnosed with a type of motor neurone disease (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease in the US).

I’m disabled, but am determined MND won’t stop me enjoying my passion for capturing life through a lens. So, after years of wearing out my shoes walking with heavy cameras, these days I take most of my photos from a mobility scooter with small Olympus micro four third kit.

Click on the pages in the site menus for my story and more of my pictures, and do visit again soon. The site is regularly updated.

This image was taken on 4 wheels with an Olympus OMD EM5 ii and a 17mm f1.8 lens – 400th sec, f4.5, iso 2500 (it’s been very dark and gloomy here!). I’ve begun to experiment with a 34mm equivalent prime and zooming with my wheels – much as I used to with my feet – instead of relying on a conspicuous zoom lens. 

Body language

 

posh kids

© Miles Pilling

This was taken with a slightly experimental (for me) ultra wide-angle lens that only has one aperture (f8). It’s cheap and soft but lets me get in really close to the subjects. I like the different expressions that each of these young people have. To me, their reactions and way they hold their bodies seems to say quite a lot about them as individuals.

Stop frame

Colours of life

© Miles Pilling

I loved the lines and colours in this moment. To me there’s also something a little bit cartoonish about the way the subjects are walking and the “timelessness” of their clothing. It’s like a single frame taken from an animation.